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Whip Media Group Examines Outlook for HBO Max

Set to debut May 27 with a monster amount of content — 10,000 hours-plus, both TV and film — HBO Max is the latest entry into the streaming wars, and ahead of its launch Whip Media Group set out to find whether it’s got the ability to challenge its predecessors.

The answer is “yes” … depending on a few factors, according to Whip’s latest study, “Can HBO Max Maximize the Value of Its Content?”

The content at launch isn’t an issue, with HBO, Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, the CW Network and more all adding to the mix (including 50 original new series via HBO). Existing HBO subscribers on AT&T, and HBO Now direct-billing subscribers, will get HBO Max for free (everyone else will pay $15 a month).

Customers who subscribe to AT&T’s video, mobile and broadband packages will be offered bundles with HBO Max at no additional cost, and there are reports an ad-supported model will show up in 2021.

And the findings from Whip’s survey of 4,185 respondents showed awareness is crucial, with nearly 70% saying they were already aware of HBO Max, compared to Peacock at 35% and Quibi at 24%. “This is an eye-popping increase from the level of awareness of the HBO Max service that we measured in the fall of 2019, which was 37%,” the report reads. “As awareness has increased, so has the intent to subscribe.”

Among that 69%, 31% said they were either likely of very likely to subscribe, compares to 24% saying the same among all respondents. “With HBO Max’s stated intent to develop programming designed to skew younger, we would expect likeliness to subscribe to increase over time as they roll-out content more relevant and attractive to this segment,” the report reads.

The survey found that Gen X (39- to 54-year-olds) showed a 67% level of awareness and a 23% likely intent to subscribe, with Millennials second at 73% and 26%, respectively.

“Delivering robust, high quality content is the critical underlying strategy to the HBO Max service. The power of the HBO brand ignited with 63% of total respondents citing HBO content as driving interested/very interested in the service,” the report reads.

DC Entertainment, Max Originals, and having exclusive rights to “Friends” all are huge for the hopes of the service as well, the report relayed.

“As a brand, HBO has already proven that it can command a higher price point compared to other streaming platforms, and still attract viewers,” the report concluded. “The question that remains is whether HBO Max can expand the audience in an already crowded field.

“When you consider the sheer volume of premium content from WarnerMedia — ranging from television to theatrical to originals to classics — there should be little question that HBO Max can maximize the value of that content.”

To access the report, click here.